American Sociological Association

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  1. Out of the Urban Shadows: Uneven Development and Spatial Politics in Immigrant Suburbs

    It is now well established that the concentric zone model, developed by Ernest Burgess and elaborated by others in the Chicago School of Sociology to explain the distribution of social groups in metropolitan areas, was wrong. In the past several decades, immigrants have not only moved out of the centers of U.S. metropolitan areas, many have bypassed central cities altogether and settled directly in suburbs. Increasingly, they have done so in nontraditional gateway cities, such as those in the American South and Rustbelt, and in smaller metropolitan or nonmetropolitan areas (Singer et al.

  2. Adopting a Cloak of Incompetence: Impression Management Techniques for Feigning Lesser Selves

    The “cloak of competence” concept captures attempts to disguise limitations and exaggerate abilities. The author examines the conceptual converse: the “cloak of incompetence,” or the various ways people deliberately disregard, disguise, downplay, or diminish their personal abilities. Drawing on a comparative analysis of manifold empirical cases, the author identifies three generic competence-concealing techniques—avoidance, performance, and neutralization—and considers some of the interactional contingencies that can enhance or reduce their effectiveness.
  3. The New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

    Set against the background of mid-twentieth-century institutional changes analyzed by Jürgen Habermas, we provide an account of new social conditions that compose “the public sphere” in the contemporary United States. First, we review recent developments in theorizing the public sphere, arguing they benefit from renewed attention to institutional changes in how that sphere operates.
  4. Racial Ideology or Racial Ignorance? An Alternative Theory of Racial Cognition

    Directing attention to racial ignorance as a core dimension of racialized social systems, this article advances a process-focused Theory of Racial Ignorance (TRI), grounded in Critical Race Theory and the philosophical construct white ignorance. TRI embodies five tenets—epistemology of ignorance, ignorance as ends-based technology, corporate white agency, centrality of praxis, and interest convergence.
  5. Sociology’s Next Steps? Fiftieth Anniversary of Gouldner’s Vision and Sixtieth Anniversary of Mills’s Vision

    My essay in the July 2019 issue of Contemporary Sociology leaned heavily on Habermas’s focus on “personal emancipation” and Giddens’s concept of “structuration.”
  6. The Phenomenology of Homo Economicus

    Much has been written about the fictitious nature of the atomistic model of homo economicus. Nevertheless, this economic model of self-interest and egoism has become conventional wisdom in market societies. This article offers a phenomenological explanation for the model’s commonsensical grip. Building on the work of Alfred Schutz, I argue that a reliance on homo economicus as an interpretive scheme for making sense of the behavior of economic Others has the effect of reversing the meaning of signs and doubts that challenge the model’s assumptions.
  7. Theorizing Region: Links to Ethnicity, Nation, and Race

    The concept of “region” is widespread in the social sciences but rarely theorized. I argue here that region is a multivalent concept similar to ethnicity, nation, and race. Building on the work of Bourdieu, Brubaker, and Griswold, I show that all four concepts can be understood as both “categories of analysis” and “categories of practice.” Moreover, all four have fundamental similarities regarding (1) ontology and relation to space; (2) historical sequences and relation to time; and (3) protean boundaries that may change with social scientists’ research questions.
  8. The Behavioral Economics of Pierre Bourdieu

    This article builds the argument that Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of practice can help integrate the sociological tradition with three prominent strands of behavioral economics: bounded rationality, prospect theory, and time inconsistency.
  9. Educational Expansion, Skills Diffusion, and the Economic Value of Credentials and Skills

    Examining the economic value of education has been a central research agenda of social scientists for decades. However, prior research inadequately accounts for the discrepancy between educational credentials and skills at both the individual and societal levels. In this article, I investigate the link between credentials, skills, and labor market outcomes against a background of societal-level educational expansion and skills diffusion.
  10. Remembering the City: Changing Conceptions of Community in Urban China

    Adopting complimentary integrative research methodologies, this article examines changing conceptions of community among urban residents within the city of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. Through local residents’ past memories, “everyday” experiences of (former) urban communities, and reflections on a particular way of life, we focus upon the subjective/affective meanings and memories attached to processes of urban change.